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"Evolutionary success ... is going to absolutely require mobility on, at a minimum, an interplanetary scale. We either go or we die out."
- Richard Morgan

Oxygen Fountain  
  A small factory for making oxygen on the Martian surface.  

Making oxygen is the trick. Cracking water - hydrolysis - is comparatively easy; CO2 and oxidized dust take more energy and time. That's why we need fountains. Fountains are big, often the size of a semi cab... They plop down on the Red and if the dust is deep enough - if they're not on impenetrable hardpan - they burrow in and almost immediately pop out solar collectors and extraction vanes and whirl the vanes to collect moisture from the air.
From War Dogs, by Greg Bear.
Published by Orbit in 2014
Additional resources -

Compare to vaporators from Star Wars (1976) by George Lucas.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from War Dogs
  More Ideas and Technology by Greg Bear
  Tech news articles related to War Dogs
  Tech news articles related to works by Greg Bear

Oxygen Fountain-related news articles:
  - NASA Wants To Make Oxygen On Mars

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